The challenges of “Irish twins”
A small gap between kids can make life very tricky, suggests Tori Hoffmann.
By Tori Hoffmann
Irish twins: According to various sources, Irish twins are siblings born within 12-18 months of each other.
Article originally in Parent24
Lately when we go out which is a lot more often than we used to people have started asking me how old my “twins” are. And it's not just when I'm pushing all 27kgs of my now too-big-for-a-pram babies around the corner to the shops to buy sweets. It's everywhere we go.
Because the thing is, my boys are 17.5 months apart and at nearly 2 and 3 and a bit they¹re basically the same size not helped by the fact that the older one, Thomas, is a midget and his little brother, Daniel, who was fed on Energade throughout my second pregnancy, is biggish for his age. Instead of telling everyone that they’re 17 and half months apart which is what I've done since I started showing with no 2, I now just agree that they’re twins (I've give them an average age of 2.5).
On being judged for a small baby gap
This means that I don't get horrified gasps. Or looks of pity. Or a chorus of, “Oh Shame,” or just general disgust. Instead, there are offers to help and sometimes, even a pat on the back. Because, fellow moms, I have realised that real twins get a lot more respect than Irish ones. And rightly so! What idiot in her right mind would plan an 18-month gap?
Not only do you have to do two of everything (and multiply that by six in terms of night wakings) but you have to do it at different times. Because unlike real twins which stick to the same sort of schedule (or perhaps not?)
Multi-tasking, only more so
Correct me if I’m wrong, Irish twins march to the beats of their own plastic drums. They also both need to be carried. They both need to be fed. They both need to be changed. They both need to be dressed. They both need to be picked up out of the bath. And they both need to be entertained at different times. You also don¹t get a chance to sit and cuddle the little one, ever, while the bigger one’s (not) at school. I'm sure poor Daniel gets more smooches now than any 21-month-old out there.
It will get easier when they’re bigger (hopefully!)
That said, I look at my friends with bigger gaps and I see that it’s no walk in the park, either. The challenges they face with their older children and babies are simply different. At least in our case, Thomas doesn’t remember life before Daniel (I don’t think!) and doesn’t hate him for being born he just hates him in general for being smaller yet bigger than him and stealing all his toys. His terrible twos (which begin way before they’re two) also merged into the general chaos of baby hell and screaming at our house and I was too busy to get too bogged down by them. And the 15 seconds in the day when they do actually play together now, and the fact that they’re gradually merging into similar eating and sleeping and times, has to count for something too.
It also won’t be long before they’re both out of nappies and (hopefully) done with their bottles and dummies and we can move onto the next phase of little boy life: killing insects, falling out of trees and watching lots and lots of movies the same ones, together, at the same time!
Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.
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Would you say that a short gap between siblings makes parenting harder or easier?